Dr. Lisa Damour Destresses the Potomac Community about Stress

Best-selling adolescent psychologist Lisa Damour explains the difference between healthy and unhealthy stress in a series of presentations.

Dr. Lisa Damour

Dr. Lisa Damour

Adalena Rodgers, Staff Writer

Dr. Lisa Damour, a bestselling author of books on child and adolescent psychology, spoke to students at an Upper School assembly on Wednesday, April 12th. Dr. Damour began by explaining two questions that psychologists should start with when counseling stressed patients: “Do your feelings fit the circumstances?” and “Are you managing those feelings in a healthy way?” Instead of treating all stress as undesirable, she explained that when managed successfully, stress may be appropriate and even helpful in bringing out students’ best performance. She thus advocated building resilience and coping strategies to manage stress and anxiety. 

Dr. Damour highlighted the pressure that some girls feel to look and act like the influencers they see on social media and the ill effects that may have on their self-esteem. A Potomac girl said that realizing the self-conscious anxiety that stems from watching models and social media influencers comment on beauty standards is the only way to control it. Some girls said that they found it useful to start by noticing the problem she raised before attempting to fix it. 

 Dr. Damour spoke separately to Potomac faculty and parents about understanding and managing teenage stress and anxiety. Some students expressed an interest in how Potomac can incorporate Dr. Damour’s perspective into our mental health programs.